romeo & juliet - relationships

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Sonal Varsani 10E                                    Part 1                    GCSE English Coursework

Romeo and Juliet

The tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is the result of feuding between two noble families. Romeo and Juliet was set in 1594 in a town called Verona in Rome. The play contains a number of themes, including love, parents and social status. Both Romeo and Juliet's families are enemies, which make things difficult for them, as they have to keep their love a secret. If the secret were to be out it would result in further feuds. This suggests that the relationship between them and the parents was not that strong. Families these days tend to be closer than the families at the time of the late 1500s. Particularly wealthy families from the time when the play was set were not that close either. Juliet’s parents had arranged her to marry Paris who was a very wealthy man but Juliet had second thoughts and was brave enough to step up to her father. Children from noble families were often bought up by a wet nurse, whose job it was to breast feed their child and bring it up. This would make the child have a stronger bond with the nurse rather than the mother, as the child would spend more time with the nurse. This was the same for Juliet as she was not really close with her mother but she was closer to her wet nurse.

The Capulets and Montagues were the strongest of enemies. This formed a barrier between Romeo and Juliet’s love because they were from those families. Juliet being a Capulet and Romeo being a Montague would have made it impossible for their families to allow their love to prolong. In the Elizabethan period, there were arranged marriages and the daughter had to respect her parents’ wishes to whom they chose her to marry, this is clearly shown in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ as the Capulets try to make her marry Paris. Family loyalty was paramount at the time. The Capulets had an arranged marriage but showed us that they were not happy as a couple and showed no love and affection towards each other, ‘ay sir’ is what lady Capulet would call lord Capulet as if her husband was like a king and Capulet refers to her as ‘wife’. This formal language clearly shows no love between the two. This clearly states love was not essential for the marriage.

In the Elizabethan period, when ‘Romeo and Juliet’ was based, having a family was merely status. The play shows a realistic portrayal of the world Elizabethans lived in where family loyalty was paramount and love was not essential in a marriage. To have a family in that period was a chance to secure the family name into a good reputation.

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In this modern 21st century, readers find it difficult to interpret why there was extravagant conflict between the two families. Often modern productions emphasise the conflict between the two families by making the Montagues and Capulets have different races or making the Montagues Catholic and making the Capulets Protestants. They show that it is the love between Romeo and Juliet that is accentuated and how that should conquer all. 

Before act 3 scene 5, Juliet and her father have a moderately secured relationship. Capulet refers to her as  ‘the hopeful lady of my earth’, which shows he very ...

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